Mental Health: How to deal with grief in the workplace

Create space for it in your interpersonal relationships

By Rebecca Carter

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Learn about the different types of grief

Published: Thu 18 Jan 2024, 8:24 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Jan 2024, 8:34 PM

Educate yourself on different types of grief, and which of your employees will likely be vulnerable to this. For example, those whose country of origin is affected by war or political changes, women and pregnancy loss, and both men and women affected by death by suicide. Make a conscious effort to check in with these employees. Grief is not just about death, but it can also be about other forms of loss, like divorce and illness. Not recognising these can lead to a lack of support for those experiencing non-death related grief.

Raise awareness

Talk about and normalise grief – create space for it! Understand that grief does not follow a linear, predictable path that has a specific beginning and end date. Grief manifests in various ways, including anger, guilt, or even numbness. It is ongoing so don’t assume that one offer of support is sufficient. This can leave grieving individuals feeling unsupported as time goes on which can affect productivity and overall wellbeing.

Skill up managers and HR

As managers and leaders, your employees will be relying on you to mirror how grief can be discussed and managed in the workspace. Encourage your employees to feel safe and comfortable enough to know that their grief is validated, respected, and honoured in the workspace. Encourage open conversations around grief and hold meetings to discuss the steps you will take to support employees who are grieving. This might look like peer support groups, wellbeing team building days, a dedicated person who is trained in offering confidential grief support, professional development training or a space in your workspace which allows for thoughtful reflection or prayer.

Make space

Dedicate time to discuss both individual and collective grief, where employees can discuss the impact of world events, losses in the community and shared grief.

Carter works for The Raymee Grief Centre at The Lighthouse Arabia, Dubai

As told to Ghenwa Yehia

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